The Madison sewage district works to manage water flowage to support marsh life on the S. Side.
Today I took a walk and encountered swallows maneuvering over the green algae covered water, fiesty redwings, a dramatic killdeer, gold finches, Canadian geese, black duck with ducklings in tow, three kinds of dragonflies and a white moth.
It started with a summer storm. Severe winds tore through the East side of Madison and downed a number of trees. Three of these were saved and taken to the Urban Wood Fest to show how fallen wood can be saved and used. That is where I acquired a slab of ash. This tree came from Hudson Park which features a burial mound. As I walked around the park, I saw other trees, and the mound crowded with prairie plants, carefully not mown down by the city parks workers.
An ancient tribe came here and built these mounds, we are not sure what for exactly. Another park nearby has a bear and a lynx mound. The one at Hudson is not easily identifiable. Just as these visitors found something to commemorate, I remember a previous visit along the shore. We were canoeing between the Yahara and Olbrich park when we saw a blue heron along the shoreline.
I was able to find photographs of the blue heron and so developed this design. I chose to represent the heron in shallow relief, and to develop the color and life of the bird with several layers of thinned acrylic paint. This is the result. I think it is a fitting use for the ash wood that was blown into my way.
On an urban orientation to Chicago, our guide said this:
“Everything you see in the city was put there on purpose.”
It is less obvious but just as fruitful to think of what you can learn from the urban environment. What we make as those made in the image of the creator says a lot about us. Flowers in plastic buckets along side buildings that mirror the sky. Art from functional things we don’t usualy notice and a functional table turned into a piece of art. Stairs of glass that climb the skyline.